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Miami Criminal Defense Blog

Florida and feds are cracking down on drug traffickers

Florida authorities and those in the federal government are aggressively pursuing drug traffickers these days. According to news reports, there have been at least four significant drug trafficking arrests in the state since July.

The haul from three regular busts and an undercover sting operation, when compared to some of the mega-busts that you see on the news these days, isn't that large. It netted authorities:

  • Nine arrests, including three United States citizens and six Mexican nationals
  • Total cash of $250,000 that was presumably intended to be used to buy cocaine
  • Forty pounds of methamphetamine
  • Four pounds of heroin

Criminal prosecutions of immigration crimes are increasing

In large part, the current presidential administration has set the official tone and the message is clear: Immigration crimes are to be pursued aggressively by federal prosecutors. It probably surprises nobody that 2018 saw a significant increase in people being arrested and prosecuted for what would have once been considered minor immigration offenses (like entering the country illegally).

Here are some of the most relevant statistics about the issue:

  • There were more people arrested for immigration offenses in 2018 than any other year in two decades.
  • In 2017, only 58,031 people were charged with immigration offenses.
  • In 2018, that number shot up to 108,667 arrests, which represents an 87% increase over the previous year.
  • The percentage of people actually prosecuted on immigration charges also rose 66% in that same time period.

Miami chamber of commerce member charged with embezzlement

In 2017, Brandy Dawn Smith became Vice President of Operations for the Miami Chamber of Commerce, a role that consisted of paying bills, doing payroll and handling the chamber’s finances. However, Smith’s nine-year career as a chamber member came to a halt when she faced charges of embezzling almost $100,000 from the organization.

 

The college admission scandal and a risky defense strategy

The college admission scandal has captured the attention of most of the country because it offers a glimpse into a world of privilege gone awry. Now, the defense strategy of some of the parents involved may be once again turning to privilege -- but that's a risky maneuver that could backfire.

What happened?

What are common signs of medical fraud?

If you work in a doctor's office, clinic or nursing home, would you know the signs of Medicare fraud if you saw it?

That's an important question because you don't have to be profiting from fraud in order to be implicated in it. Merely being in the office when the fraud happens and being witness to it could put you in a federal prosecutor's scope. The federal government has taken an increasingly aggressive stance against Medicare fraud because of the significant drain it causes on the nation's resources. That has made prosecutors largely unforgiving of people who turn a "blind eye" to an employer's fraud.

Called before a federal grand jury? Get legal assistance

Federal prosecutors have a unique tool at their disposal for gathering evidence from both witnesses and suspects. It's called a grand jury.

Unfortunately, if you've received a subpoena to testify, you may not know if the prosecution considers you merely a witness or a suspect. Grand juries have a degree of latitude that isn't available in regular court cases. Saying the wrong thing on the witness stand while under the impression you aren't a target in the case could be a big mistake.

How Florida police are cashing in on the drug crisis

Heading to California through Fort Lauderdale International Airport?

You'd better hope that you don't smell like cannabis to Broward County sheriffs. That's the excuse that they've used to search the belongings of people heading out of the airport to California and to seize their cash under civil forfeiture laws. Investigative journalists, looking into allegations that Broward County officers are using civil asset forfeiture laws to pad their budget, have identified 19 people who suffered the loss of their possessions after being informally accused of drug trafficking.

Career counterfeiter sentenced for new scam

Here's an important tip that any would-be counterfeiter might want to consider before they actually commit the crime: If you're already planning your defense before you get caught, it may be time to stop.

A 77-year-old career counterfeiter, known among various legal and illegal circles alike as Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio, was sentenced (yet again) for another counterfeiting scheme. A six-month investigation ended in a search of his residence, where federal agents discovered thousands of counterfeit $100 bills, a computer, a mechanical printing press and other counterfeiting tools.

Reality TV stars face charges of tax evasion

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) takes tax evasion seriously. If they think you did not pay your full share of taxes, they will investigate you heavily. If they feel they have evidence that proves you avoided your taxes, you can face serious federal charges.

Reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley face those charges now. Courts indicted the couple on 12 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and wire fraud.

What is Etizolam and why should you care?

Many of the greatest dangers facing Americans today lurk within their own medicine cabinets. Improperly storing prescription painkillers and sedatives can leave people vulnerable to medical and legal troubles.

A new danger has surfaced in Florida. The prescription medication Etizolam has gained popularity with teenagers and college students alike, particularly as a party drug. What’s scary about this problem is that Etizolam is illegal in the United States, but people can purchase the drug from the internet and have it shipped to their doorstep.

  • In the Media:
  • abc Nightline
  • the O Reilly Factor
  • Court TV
  • abc 20 20
  • CNN
  • Larry King Live
  • The Miami Herald
  • Good Morning America

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